Looking back on the Coolidge influence on Christmas, keeping it local and personal.

The Importance of the Obvious

The National Christmas Tree, 1923

Long known as the “White Lot” for the whitewashed fencing which went along its undeveloped property lines, the Ellipse was laid out in 1791 by the District of Columbia’s designer, Pierre L’Enfant. The current home of what is dubbed, the “National Christmas Tree,” the Ellipse served as the location for this historic first: the original lighting of the Christmas Tree, a tradition begun by none other than President Calvin Coolidge on December 24, 1923.

This historic first was the result of a collaborative effort by the Washington area Community Center Department of the public schools who launched the event, the Society for Electrical Development and the Electric League of Washington who engineered the battery power source and button (at the end of the long cord in the President’s hand) which illuminated 2,500 red, white and green bulbs, Paul D. Moody of Middlebury College and Senator Greene of Vermont who donated…

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The “National Christmas Tree,” 1923

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